Strategic Finance AAF046-6
Assignment number and title
Coursework – Individual Report
Weighting of assignment
Size or length of assessment
Unit learning outcomes
On completion of this unit you should be able to:
1.Demonstrate the following knowledge and understanding
Demonstrate a critical understanding of strategic finance and decision making and display a broad knowledge of the way differing financial strategies are deployed within a global context.
2.Demonstrate the following skills and abilities
Analyse corporate financial strategies as applied to real and current contexts, presenting evaluations as informative, critical and structured outcomes.
What am I required to do in this assignment?
Your Assignment constitutes an exclusively and individually Written Report up to 3,600 words with an allowance of +/- 10%. The assignment is 60% weighted in your final grade.
You are assumed to be a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a stock market listed company –of your own choice-, which aims to finance its new investments through equity financing, or debt financing, or a mixture of equity and debt and other financing options available to the company. You are required to write an “Individual Report” -limited to 3,600 words- covering the following themes:
(i)Justification of company choice and key corporate and financial objectives
(ii)Critical and comparative analysis of most recent credit ratings issued by rating agencies for your chosen company
(iii)Critical and comparative analysis of most recent corporate governance reports, or if available, corporate governance ratings issued by rating agencies for your chosen company
(iv)Critically analyze the credit ratings industry in an essay format addressing the each and all of the following key aspects: (i) definition of the terms corporate credit ratings and country (sovereign) ratings; (ii) determinants of corporate credit ratings; (iii) determinants of country (sovereign) ratings; (iv) determinants of corporate governance ratings; (v) differences between solicited and unsolicited ratings; (vi) discussion of whether or not the financial markets participants need ratings, and why; (vii) who should pay for ratings to credit rating agencies and why; and (viii) discussion of roles and responsibilities, if any, of credit rating agencies on the recent financial crises and macro-finance related uncertainties worldwide.
(v)Presentation, organization and structure, grammar and spelling, resources and referencing
TOTAL [100 Marks]
Expected word count (+/- 10% band)
Justification of company choice and key corporate and financial objectives
Corporate governance report/ratings
Credit ratings industry analysis
Presentation, organization and structure, grammar and spelling, resources and referencing
Submission Week (Full Time): Week 6 – Exact date is to be confirmed.
Submission Week (Part Time): Week 12 – Exact date is to be confirmed.
What do I need to do to pass? (Threshold Expectations from UIF)
In order to pass Assessment 2 you will need to:
Develop a critical and deep understanding of a firm’s behaviour in relation to corporate finance and of the relevant market structure at both the national and the international level.
Apply finance theory to real life events and in the context of a particular scenario by analysing the determinants of the corporate behaviour.
The threshold criteria for this assignment will be based on qualitative and critical analysis of financial corporate actions such as corporate governance activities and working capital policy, and so on.
How do I produce high quality work that merits a good grade?
Assessment of a student’s work in a particular task is a judgement of the extent to which the student has attained the unit’s learning outcomes (ULO) and Learner Development covered by that task. To begin with, understanding what the assigned question is about is essential. Then, this is followed by a comprehensive and critical academic analysis as outlined and explained below.
Students need to demonstrate understanding the course content, can expand upon their existing knowledge and go above and beyond the expected standard.
In order to produce high quality work that merits a good grade, the students should clearly demonstrate a critical and sophisticated understanding of the topic, with a high degree of competence and have excellent usage of relevant literature, theory and financial practice. Specifically, in case studies, students must critically analyze financial data presented and use relevant information from literature and academic sources to provide a critical discussion on the selected company.
How does this assignment relate to what we are doing in scheduled sessions?
The sessional lectures and delivery of the unit is truly consistent with the aims and scope, and relevance of the Unit Information Form (UIF). as stated below:
The central aim of this Unit is to help you develop financial skills in: appraising business ideas, evaluating business performance, identifying potential improvement and reaching better business decisions.
Within a global context, using critical evaluation techniques you will learn how to recognise, assess and propose value-creating initiatives in your organisation. Above all, you will learn how communicate your thoughts, ideas and conclusions more confidently and more effectively at executive committee or board level. You will have the opportunity to be engaged in the development transferable research skills and environment. You will be involved in sharing and using research knowledge and expertise.
It is also consistent with the syllabus content of the Unit given by the UIF:
• Optimal decision making from a strategic finance perspective
• Accounting for risk
Putting financial strategy into context:
• Linking corporate and financial strategies
• Corporate governance and financial strategies
• Financial strategy and the corporate life cycle
Financial instruments and the capital markets:
• The building block of capital
• Equity vs Debt
• Dividends and buybacks
How will my assignment be marked?
Your assignment will be marked according to the threshold expectations and the criteria explained below.
You can use them to evaluate your own work and consider your grade before you submit.
Pass – 40-49%
Pass – 50-59%
Commendation – 60-69%
Incomplete breadth and depth of substantive knowledge of the discipline and field of study; Underdeveloped critical engagement with the material; There is a lack of a questioning approach to the investigation of the discipline and field of study
There is sufficient and appropriate depth of subject knowledge; There is sufficient grounding in theory in order to identify problems and research questions; There is demonstrated ability to critically engage with current issues and new insights in the discipline and area of study.
Demonstrates a systematic and broad understanding of the subject that is clearly based on current research and scholarship at the forefront of the discipline
Work demonstrates ability to develop and sustain a personal argument to reach independent judgements, which extend beyond the limits of the task set or concepts taught, and thus includes clearly creative and original elements.
The application of theoretical and technical knowledge which meets only some of the learning outcomes through; inconsistent application of knowledge; limited critical engagement; inadequate selection of sources. lack of coherence between arguments
The application of theoretical and technical knowledge which meets learning outcomes and shows evidence of critical engagement and analysis of appropriately selected sources.
The application of theoretical and technical knowledge to meet learning outcomes through the provision of robust and critical arguments based on a selective use of appropriate sources with evidence of creativity.
The work displays strong command of a broad range of complex and specialist areas of knowledge and skills, together with excellent critical analysis and evaluation of knowledge, methodologies and theoretical frameworks and their application.
Work that shows a limited understanding with current thinking in the discipline through: some inaccurate representations of the work of others in the discipline; limited differentiation between the quality and appropriateness of sources used; overly simple conclusions drawn which do not reflect the complexity of the subject matter; limited analysis.
Work that draws on current thinking in the discipline through: accurately representing and acknowledging the work of others in the discipline; adequate differentiation between the quality and appropriateness of sources used; drawing adequate conclusions which may not always reflect the complexity of the subject matter; an adequate, if unsophisticated, level of analysis.
Work that critically reflects the state of knowledge and its application within the discipline through: providing concise and coherent arguments which draw on a range of sources from within the discipline to allow substantial analysis to take place; the potential to act as an independent professional through an understanding of complex and/or unpredictable circumstances.
Work that fully and critically reflects the state of knowledge and its application in the discipline through: creativity within disciplinary boundaries; providing compelling, coherent and concise arguments where the level of rigor demonstrates an excellent understanding; critical use and synthesis of a good range of appropriate sources to inform the argument; the demonstration of sound judgement on the basis of evidence in complex and/or unpredictable circumstances.
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